Composer of 'T'

Marcel Lucien Tournier (1879-1951)

A French composer, harpist, and an educator. He was born in Paris on 5 January 1879 as a child among five brothers (plus two sisters). His father was a string instruments maker at the near of Paris Conservatory. Then under his will, all of five sons started to play different string instruments from early childhood. Marcel indicated a significant ability, and could enter Paris Conservatory to study harp under A. Hasselmans (he is said the frontier of the modern harp playing technique) and R. Martenot when he was 16 years old. In 1899, he obtained the first prize in harp class. Then, he continued to learn harmony with C.Lenepvu, counterpoint with G. Caussade, composition with C-M. Widor. In 1909, he was awarded the second Prix de Rome with his cantata 'La Roussalka'. Also he obtained Rossini Prize with his stage work 'Laura et Petrarch'. After working as a harpist of Concert Lamoureux Association, he was appointed a professor of the harp department in Paris Conservatory as the successor of Hasselmans in 1912. Until his retirement in 1948 to the successor Lily Laskine in 1948, he has raised many renowned harpists including his wife, Renée Lénars, she was also a professor of Paris conservatory from 1912-1933. His compositional diction can be characterized the strong influence of impressionism with romantic melodies which inherit latter romantic idiom. He was also a renowned musical theorist and left the writtings of code-glissando technique and modern harmony. He has received Région d'honor Prize. He passed away on 8 May, 1951 in Paris. (©2003. K.S.)

Main Works

Stage Works Laura and Petrarch Laura et Petrarch (1909)
Cantata La Roussalka la roussalka (1909)
Chamber Two Romantic Preludes deux préludes romantiques (pub.1909) <vln, hrp>
Land of fairies féerie (1912) <hrp, 2vln, vla, vc>
Autumn Promenade promenade à l'automne (pub.1912) <vln(vc), hrp>
Nocturne nocturne (-) <vc, hrp>
Harp Six Christmas Tunes six noël (-)
Four Suites quatre suites (1897)
Near a Fontain in a Forest vers la source, dans le bois.. (1922)
Sonatine sonatine (1924)
Images, Suite No.1 images 1ère suite (1925)
Images, Suite No.2 images 2ème suite (1925)
Images, Suite No.3 images 3ème suite (1930)
Images, Suite No.4 images 4ème suite (1932)
Etude for Contests 'In the morning' étude de concert 'au matin' (1940)
An Eternal Dream l'éternel rêveur (1946)
Lullaby berceuse (pub.1965)
Sigh soupir (pub.1976)
Four Preludes quatre préludes pour deux harpes (-) <2hrp>
Sonatine No.2 sonatine No. 2 (-)
Piano Waltz No.1 premier valse กส-กห
Waltz No.2 deuxième valse กส-กห

Tournier Disc Review

"Harp Recital :
Etude de Concert, Au Matin / Vers la Source, Dans le Bois .. / Sonatine / Images 1 - 4ème Suite"
(Claves : CD 50-9816)

Chantal Mathieu (hrp)
Finally! Here we come to have the chance to listen a disc with full of Tournier works, that is what every impressionistic music fan has longed for. The performer, Ms. Mathieu has graduated Paris Conservatory and works as a staff of Lausanne Music Adademy. She has awarded the numerous harp contests such as Israel and Paris international contests (1'st) and Geneva international (2'nd). Yes, she is the right lady to engage in the project. But I have another ground. The teacher whom she has learned harp had been a pupil of Tournier. Then there is a certain relationship between the composer and a performer. Although her appearance is charming and pretty, her performance is very massive and her fingerings are clear. The selection of titles are representative ones so that you can adequately grasp the composer's genius by excellent performance. Top recommendation without any proviso.

"Interlude - Französische Musik für Flöte, Violine und Harfe :
Suite / Deux Ballades (Goosens) : Deux Préludes Romantiques / Promenade à l'Automne (Tournier) : Two Dances (L. Moyse) : Cinq Nuances / Triptyque (Berthomieu) : Entr'acte / Deux Interludes (Ibert)"
(Thorofon : CTH 2194)
Hans-Jörg Wegner (fl) Marcus Honegger (vln) Ellen Wegner (hrp)
Two soloists Mr. and Ms. Wegner are matrimonial and have studied at Hannover Conservatory. Violinist, Mr.Honegger is (was) the concert master of Schleswig-Holstein Chamber Ensemble. Although it is hard to guess why this French-centric selection came to have an idea from such the Deutsche-centric performers, you will understand the secret once you hear the fact that the harpist was an pupil of Chantal Mathieu in Lausanne (for your guidance, Ms. Mathieu is a grand-pupil of Marcel Tournier!!). Although we are not familiar with the performers, their performance is far better than expected (not excellent, but well-performed). Also, the dictions of selected composers are all modest, classical and peaceful. Adequately modern, but equally classical in form they will sure makes you are in a salon. It is almost impossible to find other recordings for L.Moyse.

"Impromptu (Fauré) / Sonatine No. 2 (Tournier) / Danses de delphes : La fille aux cheveux de lin (Debussy) / 5 préludes (Salzero)" (Koch Schwann : 310179 GI)
Alice Giles (hrp)
If you are searching for a certain amount of information about Tournier, all that I can say is 'I am sorry but the amount is poor!'. That situation can be said as for the recordings. Although his compositions are largely favorable in terms of his romantic, modest melodies with beautiful harmonies, he and his works are seriously unknown. This recording is performed by a pretty faced lady Ms. A. Giles, Tournier's works are coupled with some other minor harp composers. Although the picking noise is a bit large (I do not know whether it is because of the recording environment), I should examplify this one because the recording contains three Tourniers. Well, there are few omnibus recordings which share the space for Tournier's works more than three pieces. This situation that I have to praise the amount rather than the quality is really miserable.

"Musique Française pour Harpe :
Deux Divertissements pour Harpe (Caplet) / Étude de Concert pour Harpe 'Au Matin' (Tournier) / L' Éternel rêveur (Tournier) / Impromptu (Fauré) / Une Châtelaine en sa Tour (Fauré) / Impromptu-Caprice (Pierné) / The Little Shepherd (Debussy) / Thème et Variations pour Harpe (Sancan) / Harpalycé (Constant)"
(Auvidis Valois : V 4779)
Isabelle Moretti (hrp)
The soloist, Ms. Moretti has conquested the 3 major international harp contests. Also she is a really elegant and beautiful lady. Although this disc shares only two tracks for tournier, her bright and clear fingering technique is clearly better than the Koch Schwann one. Also the recording equipment seems to be better. The contents are the most famous and frequently performed ones of Tournier's compositions. They are beautiful pieces colored by full of impressionistic harmony and structure.

(Japanese page: 2001. 1.16 / English Translation: 2003. 4. 21)